Earlier this year, we learned of the tragic passing of Death and Cynic drummer Sean Reinert. He was only 48 years old. Reinert was listed an organ donor, but an archaic law prevented him from being able to offer his blood, eye and tissue donations. Under current law created in response to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, FDA regulations deem ineligible any donation from "men who have had sex with another man in the preceding five years." The law was eventually changed to 12 months.
In a recent interview with Billboard, Reinert's former bandmate, Paul Masvidal commented on the archaic law, saying he had only learned about it through Reinert passing away.
“I’m an organ donor and a gay man, so I guess I should remove my organ donation from my driver’s license,” says Masvidal. “This sounds like an ’80s Reagan bill or some nonsense. I had no idea, and I hope that in light of this, that it’ll help bring attention to how absurd that is … It really is a form of prejudice and homophobia in law.”
Masvidal talked about how this was the first significant loss in his life to personally deal with:
“This is the first significant loss in my life, in that I lost a peer, a best friend and someone I grew up with my whole life,” he says. “I lived with him, toured with him, and we were basically inseparable for 33 years. I spent more time with him than my own blood brother. It’s been really challenging for me.”
Masvidal is familiar with the stages of grief — he has worked as a volunteer with ailing and terminally ill populations for about 25 years, so he knows “how to enter that space. But now it’s my turn to directly experience it, and it’s been a ride. I’m just trying to create space for it all and show up for whatever needs to come through and to move toward the loss instead of away from it, especially something as significant as this.” He expects to work through it for the rest of his life because “essentially, my personality was forged with Sean. We found our identities together as kids. It’s not easy, but I don’t expect it to be.”
Masvidal knows that Reinert's legacy will live on:
“We’re at the tip of the iceberg of people realizing what a monster he was as a musician and the influence he left behind,” he observes. “I would love to see that expand as well, in terms of Sean’s legacy becoming something historic and there be some kind of preservation of what he did as an artist and what he offered the world. He really was unique and a beast of a player, and there’s not going to be another guy like him.”
The full interview can be seen here.
Masvidal released Vessel this weekend, the third in a triology of EPs, combined to be titled Mythical Human Vessel. Stream and purchase it here.